This week (March 28 or 29), the Iowa Senate will debate Senate File 424.  This bill strikes the “or red reflector” portion of the law that requires lights for riding a bicycle at night.  Currently, bicyclists have an option to ride with a light or reflector.

LED lights are inexpensive and available. However, we don’t want people to be subject to fines if they don’t have a light.  We were able to recommend an amendment allowing for a “fix-it ticket”.  This means you need to sign an affidavit that you repaired or replaced your light within 72 hours of the infraction and your ticket (and fine) will be expunged.

People riding bicycles at night are going to have some extra responsibility to have a light and make sure you have fresh batteries or a full charge. If we are going to take on some extra responsibility, wouldn’t it be fair if motorists had the responsibility to change lanes to pass bicycles?  It is already in the code that motorists have to pass on the opposite side of the road and cannot drive in more than one lane. WE NEED YOU TO ASK YOUR SENATOR TO MAKE IT CLEAR TO CHANGE LANES TO PASS BICYCLES.

Send one simple email to your Iowa Senator.  We have pasted the list of Senate members below.  Pick out your Senator and send an email.  If you are not sure who your senator is, click for a quick search.

Some great points to cover in your email:

  • 84% of bicycle crashes happen during the daytime.
  • In 2013, 2% (7 crashes) occurred because the person wasn’t visible.  In 2014, that number was zero.
  • 50% of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes are at non-intersections
  • One of the top causes of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes is failure to yield, according to Iowa DOT traffic safety.
  • DOT has already changed drivers manual to reflect change lanes to pass a bicycle.
  • Change Lanes to ​P​ass is easier to enforce, teach, and learn.
  • Cars cannot legally split lanes, but often do at the peril of bicyclists.
  • Clear statutory language for drivers education students to learn and others to follow.
  • We believe clear statutory language on safe passing would help reduce the 118 bicycle/vehicle collisions that occurred in 2014.
  • We believe when safe passing laws are taught in drivers education and have clear enforcement can save lives of people who ride bicycles.

We urge you to amend and pass House File 424 with language that reflects “changing lanes to pass bicycles.”

Possible amendment language:

321.299 ADD New Section: 3.  The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a person riding a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall pass to the left thereof on the opposite side of the highway or adjacent travel lane and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle in accordance with 321.281.  Bicycle lanes and paved shoulders are considered adjacent travel lanes for the purposes of this passage.


Chamber Name District Party County Email
Senate Chaz Allen 15 Democrat Jasper
Senate Bill Anderson 3 Republican Woodbury
Senate Jerry Behn 24 Republican Boone
Senate Rick Bertrand 7 Republican Woodbury
Senate Tony Bisignano 17 Democrat Polk
Senate Joe Bolkcom 43 Democrat Johnson
Senate Tod R. Bowman 29 Democrat Jackson
Senate Chris Brase 46 Democrat Muscatine
Senate Michael Breitbach 28 Republican Clayton
Senate Jake Chapman 10 Republican Dallas
Senate Mark Chelgren 41 Republican Wapello
Senate Mark Costello 12 Republican Mills
Senate Thomas G. Courtney 44 Democrat Des Moines
Senate Jeff Danielson 30 Democrat Black Hawk
Senate Dick L. Dearden 16 Democrat Polk
Senate Bill Dix 25 Republican Butler
Senate William A. Dotzler Jr. 31 Democrat Black Hawk
Senate Robert E. Dvorsky 37 Democrat Johnson
Senate Randy Feenstra 2 Republican Sioux
Senate Julian B. Garrett 13 Republican Warren
Senate Michael E. Gronstal 8 Democrat Pottawattamie
Senate Dennis Guth 4 Republican Hancock
Senate Rita Hart 49 Democrat Clinton
Senate Robert Hogg 33 Democrat Linn
Senate Wally E. Horn 35 Democrat Linn
Senate Pam Jochum 50 Democrat Dubuque
Senate David Johnson 1 Republican Osceola
Senate Tim L. Kapucian 38 Republican Benton
Senate Kevin Kinney 39 Democrat Johnson
Senate Tim Kraayenbrink 5 Republican Webster
Senate Liz Mathis 34 Democrat Linn
Senate Matt McCoy 21 Democrat Polk
Senate Janet Petersen 18 Democrat Polk
Senate Herman C. Quirmbach 23 Democrat Story
Senate Amanda Ragan 27 Democrat Cerro Gordo
Senate Ken Rozenboom 40 Republican Mahaska
Senate Charles Schneider 22 Republican Dallas
Senate Brian Schoenjahn 32 Democrat Fayette
Senate Jason Schultz 9 Republican Crawford
Senate Mark Segebart 6 Republican Crawford
Senate Joe M. Seng 45 Democrat Scott
Senate Tom Shipley 11 Republican Adams
Senate Amy Sinclair 14 Republican Wayne
Senate Roby Smith 47 Republican Scott
Senate Steven J. Sodders 36 Democrat Marshall
Senate Rich Taylor 42 Democrat Henry
Senate Jack Whitver 19 Republican Polk
Senate Mary Jo Wilhelm 26 Democrat Howard
Senate Brad Zaun 20 Republican Polk
Senate Dan Zumbach 48 Republican Delaware